Musicians Concerned About Proposed 4am Cutoff For Alcohol Sales; Yamashita Says it Will Mean More Pay For Musicians & Service Industry Employees

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Guam – Senator Aline Yamashita has introduced a bill to allow bars to serve alcohol up until 4am as long as they provide live entertainment. However some live entertainers say they don’t like the bill.

 Rachael Esteves is a local musician who loves playing in Guam’s local bar scene but doesn’t necessarily like the idea of having to play until 4am. Esteves is among a group of local musicians who aren’t very fond of Senator Yamashita’s Bill 398. “I don’t think that the two things should correlate with each other. If they want, if the bars and the liquor companies want to keep bars open until four am that’s there own deal I don’t want them to try to use musicians as a reason why,” said Esteves.

 Musician Brandon Baldwin is concerned that they may be forced to play until 4am without any extra pay. “If musicians were to be asked to stay or play until closing they should be compensated for their talent,” said Baldwin adding, “it ultimately comes down to that getting paid extra for the extra two hours if you are asked if you are asked to do that.” “It kind of opens us up more to be taken advantage of as performers because we don’t have minimum wage as musicians we’re contracted workers there are no guidelines there are no rules we don’t have health insurance it’s not like a regular job but it is our job,” said Baldwin.

 Senator Aline Yamashita on the other hand says her bill is aimed at providing musicians on Guam more opportunities. “The business owners the folks over seeing the service industry and the music industry don’t see it like that at all they see it as heightening the pay checks and I don’t think they require that would be a choice issue. The entrepreneurs, the business owners, the business leaders, I’ve been speaking to are very honorable people and they just see this as a way of providing more for their employees,” said Yamashita.

 Yamashita says that local bar owners have told her that they have lost about $3 million dollars since the law took effect 4 years ago reducing the cutoff time for alcohol sales from 4am to 2am. She says raising the cutoff time back to 4am would allow these businessmen to make more money and therefore pay their employees more money which includes not only musicians but security, bar backs, bar tenders, waiters and waitresses.

 Yamashita says she introduced the bill with the idea of giving more opportunities for those who work in the service industry. “Put it on the table and lets talk about it. At the end of the day if it’s not the right thing to do at the end of the day if it’s not the right time to do at the end of the day if it’s just not what the community wants then it doesn’t happen,” said Yamashita. However, Yamashita still believes her bill can strengthen job opportunities and increase the paychecks for those who are already working in the service industry.